Sussex border path approaching Cousley Wood

Sussex border path approaching Cousley Wood

04-May-16 • quitenearmike on Flickr

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Circular Gap 2

Circular Gap 2

Leafy lane in autumn. Wadhurst short circular

16-Nov-07 • moontiger on Flickr

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Ayers Rock......

Ayers Rock......

....for bugs. Dead stump, Wadhurst short circular

16-Nov-07 • moontiger on Flickr

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Roadside Tree

Roadside Tree

Wadhurst short circular

16-Nov-07 • moontiger on Flickr

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Wadhurst Circular walk swcextrawalk5

Wadhurst Circular walk swcextrawalk5

Disinterested donkey and horse at Great Shoesmiths Farm, Near Wadhurst, Kent

10-May-13 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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Wadhurst Circular walk

Wadhurst Circular walk

Interior of The Cottage Tea Room, Wadhurst, Kent

10-May-13 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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Down into the woods

Down into the woods

near Wadworth

08-Nov-14 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

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Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular walk

This walk follows the Sussex Border path to Bewl Water, then follows its banks back to Wadhurst for tea. Gentle gradients but never flat.


Main walk: 17km (10.6 miles)

Short walk: 12.9km (8 miles)

Long walk: 19.6km (12.2 miles)

Figure of eight walk: 17.6km (10.9 miles) or 20.3km (12.6 miles)

All walks 1km (0.6 miles) shorter with main road ending, and 3.2km (2 miles) shorter if you get a bus from Wadhurst village.


5 out of 10

OS Maps Explorer 136, Landranger 188

The area around Wadhurst is one of the prettiest parts of the Weald – a place of hidden valleys, ancient woods, and quaint old farms which feel far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. This walk gives you a perfect introduction to it. Starting at Wadhurst station, it follows the Sussex Border Path to lunch at a pub in Cousley Wood, and then descends with fine panoramic views to Bewl Water Reservoir, whose shore is open and unfenced unlike many other reservoirs, and which makes a fine spot to while away some time on a sunny day.

You then have a choice of whether you do a shorter or longer exploration of the shores of the reservoir (see Walk Options below) before climbing up to the hilltop village of Wadhurst, a classic Wealden settlement, where you can have tea in one of its cafes (Monday to Saturday), or in one of its two pubs.

After tea you can choose between a direct route to the station down the main road (but with a pavement all the way), or a quiet walk along the back lanes. It is 3.2km (2 miles) from Wadhurst to the station via the back lanes and it is probably best to allow at least an hour for this. For the shorter 2.2km (1.4 miles) by the main road, allow 40 minutes.

Walk Options
  • A direct path from the reservoir up to Wadhurst village - a pleasant and gentle climb - reduces the distance from lunch to just 4.5km (2.8 miles) from lunch to tea and makes a short walk of 12.9km (8 miles).
  • For an even fuller exploration of Bewl Water, the long walk takes you out around a beautiful promontary sticking out into the lake. It then follows the main walk's hilly route into Wadhurst. This walk is 19.6km (12.2 miles) long and it is 11.1km (6.9 miles) from lunch to tea.
  • You can also combine part of this walk with the short option (option a) of the Wadhurst Circular walk (Book 2 walk 18) on this website to create a Figure of eight walk (ie having both lunch and tea in Wadhurst) offering a comprehensive introduction to the different types of scenery around the village. This walk is 7km (4.3 miles) in the morning and 7.4km (4.6 miles) from lunch to tea, which with a further 3.2km (2 miles) to the station gives a total walk length of 17.6km (10.9 miles). Or if you use the long walk option, it is 10.1km (6.3 miles) from lunch to tea, giving a total walk length of 20.3km (12.6 miles).

  • Transport

    The walk starts and ends at Wadhurst station on the Hastings Line, served by trains from Charing Cross via London Bridge. Take the train nearest to 10.10am from London to get to lunch in time.

    On Mondays to Saturdays you can shorten any of the walks by 3.2km (2 miles) by taking the 254 bus from Wadhurst village (the stop just outside the Greyhound pub, on the same side of the road) to Wadhurst station. Buses go roughly on the hour until 6pm. If you are heading for London it may make sense to stay on the bus to Tunbridge Wells station (about 20 minutes after Wadhurst) which has a much more frequent train service.


    The Old Vine, Cousley Wood (01892 782271), 5.3km (3.3 miles) into the main, short and long walks is the only lunch option. Lunch is served from 12-2.15pm Monday to Saturday, and to 3pm on Sunday.


    The best option is probably Jempsons, whose cafe is next to the supermarket of that name. It is open until 5pm Monday to Saturday but closed on Sunday.

    Nearby is the characterful Wealden Wholefoods Cafe, a lovely alternative tea room, with an interesting range of cakes and a very small patio, but this shuts at 4.30pm Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday, and at 3.30pm on Wednesdays, with last orders half an hour earlier. The shop is open for another half hour in each case.

    The Cottage Tea Room between the two pubs is another charming small tea room, which is open Thursday to Sunday until 5pm in the summer months.

    Otherwise, both of the pubs in Wadhurst serve tea in pots. The Greyhound, the first you come to, is the more traditional pub and sometimes refuses to do tea if its bar is busy. It has a well-hidden garden out the back. 100 metres up the road, the White Hart has been taken upmarket, but it seems happy to serve tea in pots.

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    Out: (not a train station)

    Back: (not a train station)

    By Car

    Start: TN5 6RZ Directions


    Start walking Large print Using GPS data

    National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



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    Walk Directions  

    Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

    This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from